MJA announces 2012 officers

Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge Timothy G. Hicks will preside as president of the Michigan Judges Association for 2012.

Hicks was a teacher before beginning his legal career in 1983. He practiced law for 13 years before his appointment to the bench in 1996. Hicks is a former chief judge of the Muskegon circuit and teaches classes for the Michigan Judicial Institute. Hicks has served on the MJA’s executive committee since 1998.

Joining Hicks in MJA’s 2012 leadership positions:

  • President Elect: Judge Lita Masini Popke, Wayne County
  • Vice-President: Judge Stephen D. Gorsalitz, Kalamazoo County
  • Secretary: Judge Paul E. Hamre, Van Buren County
  • Treasurer: Judge Colleen A. O’Brien, Oakland County

No jail time for lawyer who embezzled from church

A Norton Shores attorney who embezzled $22,000 from his Muskegon Heights church is losing his law license, his reputation and his livelihood — but not his freedom, reports The Muskegon Chronicle.

“James Kenneth Oslund, 55, was sentenced Friday to two years on probation, three months under house arrest on electronic tether and 150 hours community service. Muskegon County Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks also ordered Oslund to pay a $5,000 fine, $120 in costs and $40 per month in probation oversight fees,” says The Chronicle.

The no-jail sentence was imposed following pleas from the church pastor and members of Temple United Methodist Church to keep Oslund out of the slammer.

Before pronouncing sentence, [Hicks] said he was concerned about public perception that he might be giving Oslund “preferential treatment because he’s ‘part of the club'” — a white attorney with “benefits that other people don’t have.”

But Hicks said that was not influencing him. As justification for the sentence, he pointed to the stated wishes of most church members; the fact that Oslund paid full restitution of $27,000, including the cost of an audit of the church’s finances, by mortgaging some property he had inherited; and the medically documented fact that Oslund for many years has struggled with severe depression, a stated factor in his earlier difficulties earning a living and his resort to embezzlement to support himself.